From start to Finnish, you’ll love this sprawling seaside spa
Scandinavia and spas go together like strawberries and champagne. These snowy, stylish countries have been in the spa game for hundreds of years, giving them plenty of time to perfect their outdoor sauna culture and massage techniques.
Now that the rest of the world has caught up, more and more people are heading to Norway, Sweden and Denmark to take advantage of the amazing spa facilities – but Finland has managed to remain slightly under the radar.
For spa fans, that makes it the perfect retreat. From the evergreen forests to the rugged southern coastline, Finland has some of the most breath-taking scenery in Europe, and in the middle of it all lies the biggest spa in Scandinavia – the five star Naantali Spa.
This enormous red-roofed estate is surrounded by water, trees and private gardens, creating a tranquil oasis where you can switch off and relax in one of the spa’s traditional Finnish saunas.
The spa itself is staffed by some of the top therapists in the country, who offer everything from Balinese and Indian style massages, to classic Scandinavian massage treatments and detoxifying clay wraps.
For a touch of other-worldly luxury, treat yourself to one of the unique Galvagni Spa therapies: the Galvagni Spa Aromatic Gemstone Treatment includes a rose body peel, a milk bath and a glass of champagne; while the Chocolate Body Treatment starts with a coffee scrub, and ends with a chocolate creme bath.
If the idea of lounging around all day in a massaged stupor makes you feel restless, don’t worry – there are plenty of activities nearby which will help you work up a sweat before your evening sauna.
Naantali is probably Finland’s most popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months when the area is drenched in 20 hours of sunlight and families arrive to visit the nearby MoominWorld theme park, or island-hop by boat.
Every year on 27 July, the town celebrates National Sleepy Head Day by throwing a Finnish celebrity (usually a politician) into the sea at 7am sharp. Of course, the locals will tell you that an ice-cold swim is the perfect way to get your blood flowing after 20 minutes in the sauna.
If you aren’t convinced, you can just alternate between the sauna and the heated outdoor pool at Naantali Spa, where you can cocoon yourself in warm, bubbling water while the snow falls around you. You will soon understand why spa life is so important in Finland.